Celebrating One Year!

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It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, I launched my blog.  The last 12 months have brought more milestones than I ever thought I’d reach and has allowed me to be part of an amazing community of writers and readers.  My gratitude goes to all of you for deciding to follow my journey as a writer and creative spirit.  Your presence as readers and commenters is so encouraging, inspiring, and very much appreciated.

As my muse and I grow, my blog continues to evolve, which means both new and old followers may not be aware of everything hiding in the nooks and crannies of C.B. Wentworth.  So, it seems the only fitting way to celebrate my one year anniversary is to take a look at how far I’ve come and where I’m heading next.  Let’s take a tour!

Along the Top: 

  • There is a small menu of page links that divide the content of my blog.
    • About – Like most bloggers, I wrote a little blurb about myself and the purpose of my blog. Perhaps I got a bit too whimsical, but I stand by the arguments I have with my muse!
    • My Bookshelf – Did you know I keep a log of all the books I read?  Books I’ve enjoyed from 2010, 2011, and the growing list of 2012 are all listed on My Bookshelf.  This year, I started writing snapshot reviews and providing links for each title.  I update this page regularly and leave comments open for book discussions, debates, and recommendations for further reading.
    • Home – The main page of my blog is where all new posts appear.  I write on a number topics, which are represented with category links below the main header.  Content is pretty random and that’s largely because I don’t believe in limiting where my muse can go.  If anything, I like the element of surprise for both myself as a writer and for readers.  My voice, however, is what ties everything together.  I’ve been told I have a unique personality and it comes through in everything I write!

On the main page:

  • Blog Schedule – I post three or four times a week, typically Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  However, there are weeks where I’ll post every day.  It depends on how chatty my muse is and how much time is available to write.
  • Comments – Every post is open to comments and I make it a point to answer every single person who leaves a comment.  Reader thoughts are important to me and I enjoy the conversation.
  • Current Series/Projects:
    • Wreck This Journal – This series documents the pages I complete in Keri Smith’s groundbreaking book of the same title.  I’m happy to say this series has inspired a number of people to buy their own Wreck This Journal and embark on a similar journey of reckless creativity.
    • Project Art Journal – This series showcases pages from a journal I created with paper lunch bags.  Each page is constructed using mixed-media collage and I provide step by step instructions for the techniques I use to create each layout.
    • Sundays in London – A three week sojourn to London serves as the inspiration for poetry and musings.  Every Sunday I post a photograph from my adventure, along with the words it inspires.
    • 2012 Goals Status Report – At the end of every month, I hold myself accountable for the writing goals I’ve set for 2012.  I document both successes and failures as they occur to keep myself on track for the year.
  • In between these regular series is where random topics run rampant.  A post without the aforementioned titles is one where I’ve wandered into fiction, travel, books or any of the other categories listed under the main header.

Along the sidebar:

  • The main photograph is my actual bookshelf.  I took this shot with my cell phone and played with it on iPhoto until I got it to match the color scheme of my chosen theme. Every photograph on my blog is my own, unless otherwise noted.
  • Subscribing to my blog is as easy as clicking on the “sign me up” button.  Thanks again to those who have already done so!
  • Over on Facebook I’ve create a writer page, where I post blog updates, links to other blogs and sites, announcements, and general musings about writing.  Clicking “Like” button opens up these features and I love it when people write on my wall.
  • My Twitter Tweets chronicle my writing process, books I’m reading, and fantastic inspirational quotes I find in a variety of places. Click the button on my sidebar and we’ll tweet together!
  • Pinterest is my newest obsession.  The crafter and artist in me can’t get enough of the visual inspiration this site has to offer.  I pin everything from upcycling projects, photos of my dream flat in London, and art journal pages.  Click the red button on my sidebar to see what I’m pinning and to follow along.
  • I recently joined the World Literary Cafe to network with other writers and readers.  So far, it has been an amazing experience!  I’m still learning the ropes of all it has to offer, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for information about how to network.
  • I joined goodreads a few months ago, because I loved the idea of the 2012 Reading Challenge.  I have a goal of reading at least 30 books this year and so far, I’m right on track.
  • Musings of a writer is a little section where I place random quotes that pop into my head.  I don’t change it very often, but I always try to come up with something that represents my philosophy of what it means to be a writer.
  • In the Recent Posts section, I keep a listing of the 50 most recent blog entries.
  • My tag cloud is just as random as my posts, so I guess that’s another indicator of how my muse works! Clicking on any one of those tags will take you to all my posts relating to that topic.
  • I’m sorry to say my Blogroll is in dire need of updating!  I have about 30 blogs to add, but the current list of blogs are still among my favorite.  I visit them daily for a great read and endless inspiration.
  • The Campaign Shield serves as my badge for surviving my first Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.  The campaign was worth participating in as I met so many wonderful bloggers and I really enjoyed the challenge of tough writing prompts and competition. I’m still in shock that I won the last competition, (See Fatespeak)!
  • Thanks to some fabulous bloggers, I’ve been lucky enough to receive several blog awards.  There’s nothing quite as encouraging or gratifying as another blogger acknowledging my work.  I appreciate every single one and those who gave them to me.

Filling out the Footer:

  • I keep all the logistical information at the bottom.  This is where the archives, calendar, and blog stats reside.   I wish it was more exciting, but alas there is always a corner for the technical stuff!

Random Tidbits:

  • My gravatar photo is the same photo I use for all social media.  The meaning behind that black and white road can be found on a post entitled, One Photograph Changed Everything.

Photo by Robert Frank, (as featured in "The Americans.")

  • My icon photo is a collage I created and photographed.  I pieced together magazine photos of trees, cliffs, and petroglyphs.  The emphasis on the hand in the center is symbolic of the human journey in which we all travel.

Collage by c.b.w.

  • Back in August, my post The Best Souvenirs Are Free was chosen to be Freshly Pressed.   I wish I could properly convey how exciting that was, but I still can’t find the right words.

The Best Souvenirs Are Free

Coming Soon:

  • Project Flash Fiction – As summer approaches, I’ll be embarking on a challenge to write one piece of flash fiction every week.
  • Finish This Book – With Wreck This Journal winding down over the next couple of months, Keri Smith’s most recent book will be my next source of reckless creativity. Pages and experiences will be posted on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Pinhole Camera Adventure – On a whim, I bought a kit for a pinhole camera and I plan on documenting the experiment from start to  finish, including the photographs I take with this contraption!
  • Project Upcycle – Pinterest has turned me into an upcycling fanatic.  I have several projects lined up and I’ll be documenting each one as they are completed.
  • Q&A Journal – Another summer project where a question a day can lead to anything.  A weekly post will document my answers and the inspiration that will likely ensue.

Thanks again to all my readers, new and old!  This year has been an incredible experience and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.

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c.b. 2012

Programming Note

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It’s no secret that I’ve been writing like a lunatic lately.  While I love posting something new every day, I am beginning to worry about burning out my muse.  Starting next week, I will be reverting to my previous blog schedule where new posts will show up on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Occasional posts may show up on “off” days, but only if I find myself particularly inspired or have something on my mind.  Otherwise, I’ll be using the extra time to focus more energy on my 2012 goals, (my query letter deadline is looming ominously), read other fantastic blogs, (I don’t want to fall behind on this one!), and squeeze in my day job.

To stay apprised of all new posts, follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook Page – C.B. Wentworth

Twitter – @cbwentworth

Both can also be found along my sidebar with handy dandy follow buttons!

There will be a post tomorrow, but instead of the usual Sunday in London, I’m planning on posting something cute for Easter.  Let’s just say I got a little creative with pompoms, pipe cleaners, and wiggly eyes!  Sundays in London will return next week with new musings and pictures.

Many, many thanks to all my readers and followers for your amazing support.  Every click, comment, and like inspires me to keep writing!

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c.b.w. 2012

He Waits Alone

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Just as it did every year on this day, Malcolm’s cane rattles across the cobblestones.  He knows where the walkway is uneven and how many steps it takes to get from the flower market to the clock tower.  Fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven.  For the last ten years, the number has always been the same.

The roses smell stronger than usual, their sweet, musky scent hangs heavy in the foggy air.  The treads on his old shoes struggle to grip the stones still wet from the street washer’s hose.  He tightens his hold on his cane and feels for the wall behind him.  A chill seeps into his spine as he leans on the stone bricks.

He knows he’s in the right place when he hears the soft tick-tock of the clock tower.  The steady tempo calms his pulse and soothes his nerves.  It’s been so long, but the thought of her still makes his hands clammy and his knees wobble.

Footsteps approach and they could be hers . . . but, no.  Too heavy and too far apart.  They belong to Jakob, a waiter from the café across the street.  A large gentle hand squeezes Malcolm’s arm with the assurance of friendship.  He says nothing, but gives Malcolm a warm cup of coffee before walking away.

The steam warms his nose and weaves through his thick mustache.  It’s enough to warm his bones, but not much else.  She said she’d be here and he still believes her.  People get lost or wander away, but they always end up coming home.  Don’t they?

As the minutes tick by and his coffee cup empties, he listens carefully for the sound of her voice calling his name and sniffs the breeze for a hint of her perfume.  He would know her touch anywhere as there is nothing like the feel of her hand in his.  If he tries hard enough he can imagine her phantom fingers caressing his skin.  Though, he cannot see her face. The memory is no longer vivid and his eyes are a thing of the past.

She would come, he knew she would.

Side street view of the clock tower in Old Town Square, Prague, 2008, c.b.w.

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This is a little experiment in free-writing with the assistance of a prompt and a partial story it inspired in one of my journals.  I played with both a bit more and filled in some blanks.  The photograph comes from a trip I took to Prague a few years back.

Prompt: They’d agree to meet under the clock on Valentine’s Day.  That was four years ago, but he still came very year on that date to wait for her.

Source of prompt:  First 50 – I’ve had the prompt tucked in my journal for a while, but never checked out this blog until today.  It’s an amazing source of writing prompts and I highly recommend it for any writer looking for a little inspiration!

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c.b. 201

Spreading Some Sunshine

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One of these days someone is going to have to explain to me why I’ve been blessed with such wonderful readers. Seriously, you all blow me away with your kindness and encouragement.  While I’m still giddy from last week’s Versatile Blog Award and breaking all those rules, now I’m even giddier with another kind nomination from mywithershins.  To receive The Sunshine Award from such a talented and delightful blogger is really quite an honor.  Thank you for posting such beautiful words and inspiration every day.

Spread Some Sunshine!

I broke a few rules last week and I’m ready to break a few more seeing as I accepted the Sunshine Award a few weeks ago.  Once again, I’d like to give the spotlight to a few very deserving blogs, but it also seems like a good idea to spread some sunshine to every reader on every blog.  So how about trying something a little different?

If you’re feeing a little rebellious, take the spirit of the Sunshine Award to heart and post sunshine related quotes, images, and pieces of writing as a means of accepting the award.  Being the little rebel I am, I’m accepting my Sunshine Award under these guidelines!

My sunshine related quote comes right out of the first pages of my quote journal as Helen Keller’s words are among my favorite.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.

– Helen Keller

With Vincent Van Gogh still very much on my mind, his brilliant painting of the sun seems a perfect partner for Keller’s words of wisdom.

Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun by Vincent Van Gogh

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May the light of the sun find you today and always.

– c.b.w.
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Each of these bloggers lights up my day with fantastic posts and insights and I’m so excited to nominate them for The Sunshine Blog Award.  To claim it, you may go the traditional route of following the rules or try the alternative activity of posting a sunshine related quote or piece of writing on your blog. When passing the award to 10 more people, you may again go with tradition or be a rebel.  For the traditional rules and requirements, see Now You’re All Just Spoiling Me.

Wings of Wonder – Your paintings and fearless creativity make your blog an incredibly inspiring place to be.  Thank you for always having such a positive outlook and for using bright colors!

Rough Water John – My favorite pirate poet, you are either writing the most beautiful poetry imaginable or making me laugh with your brilliant sense of humor.  Thank you for always being so creative and unique.

The View Outside – Hee hee! I get to tag you back with an award.  I hope you’ll take the sunshine challenge and write something beautiful, (just as you always do).

Peach Farm Studios – What would I do without Wry the typewriter?  Or all the beautiful images and nuggets of inspiration? Peach Farm feeds my muse like no other!

Doodlemum – I wait each day for your wonderful sketches of kids doing kid things, dogs, cats, and so many wonderful other daily life scenes.  Thank you for making me laugh and giving the little things in life a moment in center stage.

1 Story A Week – I am always amazed by the depth and quality of the stories you post each week.  Your characters and plot lines are so original and always reach someplace deep.  Thank you for pasting amazing fiction.

A Trail of Breadcrumbs – I have loved your blog since my first visit.  Your travels, photos, and unparalleled creativity always inspired me, but what I enjoy most is your spirited personality.  Your zest for life comes through in all your posts.  Thank you for giving joy such a strong voice.

The Gratitude Garden – Your posts on gratitude highlight the very best life has to offer.  Each list inspires me to make one of my own each day.  Thank you for shedding light on the beauty of being grateful for what we have.

Crow River Writer – I recently started following your blog and it is such a joy to read.  Your sense of humor gets me laughing and your kindness is knows no bounds.  Thank you for writing with so much enthusiasm and reminding me why I love YA fiction so much.

Melissa Maygrove – Your blog always gets me thinking with engaging topics of discussion.  Its easy to to see your passion for writing and determination to make your dreams come true.  I find that very inspiring and motivating – Thank you for giving a such a strong voice to aspiring authors.

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c.b. 2012

Just Call Me A Rebel

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I never ceased to be amazed and surprised when a fellow blogger nominates me for an award or tags me for a blogging game.  How lovely it is to feel so much a part of the blogging community.  A few more bloggers have sent that warm and fuzzy feeling my way and I can’t thank them enough!

First up, two of my favorite bloggers have nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award.  I’ve received this one a few times over, so instead of playing by the rules, I’m going to break them. Oooo, I’m such a rebel.  I figure I can do this because I’ve already been good little blogger, (see A Nice Surprise for the real rules and my list of seven interesting things).

Instead of listing seven more interesting things about myself, I’m going to shine the spotlight on those who  put me on their nomination list.  They deserve it for writing fantastic blogs that I look forward to reading every day.

The View Outside – This blog is one where I literally wait for a new post.  Vikki writes amazing posts about her journey as a writer.  There’s everything from prompts, flash fiction, and experiments in inspiration.  All of which are written with an infectious sense of optimism that always inspire me to keep writing – no matter what!

12 Novels in 12 Months – This is one of the first blogs I ever followed!  I was instantly struck by the honesty of each post as Sandra tracked her progress on a monumental project.  As her blog title implies, she is on a journey of writing a novel a month for 12 months.  To make the challenge even greater, each month is a different genre!  Oh my!  I’ve admired her courage in admitting defeats when they occur and I celebrate with her when there are successes.

The one rule I will follow is passing along The Versatile Blogger to seven more blogs:

Journey Back to Words – I thank you for showcasing amazing photography, artwork and words.  You are a true artist.

Kitty Hietala – Your blog is a delight.  I love how much you love to read and write.

Crowing Crone Joss – I’ve followed you for a long time and you are always surprising me.  You deserve the Versatile Blogger for so many reasons, but especially for your quest of venturing outside of your comfort zone.

The Dreamweaver’s Cottage – Your amazing talent and heartfelt honesty have made me a devoted reader.  Keep writing and keep believing!

Yellow House Cafe – Your words and images are so powerful, they linger long after reading.  You inspire me to be a better writer.

Lake Superior Spirit – Your wit, humor, and love of nature takes me back to my favorite memories of the Northwoods.  Thank you for keeping that world so close by even though I’m so far away.

Campfire Shadows – One of the best Western writers and bread bakers there ever was!

All the rules are posted in the link above for “A Nice Surprise.”  Thanks to all of you for being such bright spots in the blogosphere.

Last, but certainly not least, I was tagged for the Lucky Seven Meme by Jennifer Fischetto. Even though I was tagged with this game a couple of weeks ago, my thanks goes to Jennifer for thinking of me.  Give her a click and check out her blog!

As for nominating seven more bloggers for the Lucky Seven, I’ve only heard back from two of the seven I tagged in the last round!  If you’d like to play along, please visit my post, Lucky Seven, for the rules.  I highly recommend it as a way to break the fear cycle when it comes to first drafts and sharing your work. If you choose to participate, please post a link!

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c.b. 2012